Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

There's a reason why most of us eat turkey but twice a year. Sure, we treasure turkey as ritual, and, yes, some people admire high-protein, low-fat gobbler as dense fuel. But turkey as gastronomy doesn't really make sense – especially prepared the traditional way. That's why the Thanksgiving-Christmas turkey industrial complex feeds us ever more novel ways to coax a little joy from what we all know to be the driest, toughest, blandest protein money can buy. We return holiday after holiday with a new trick in tow, certain that this season's bird will be different. This will be the Christmas when your $80 heritage breed will shine because you are going to brine, Thompson, deep-fry, or smoke some life into it. Maybe all of the above.

Some of these tricks work, of course. But the most important piece of advice? Abandon the idea of roasting the bird whole. We think of turkey as a single piece of meat, but I like to think of it as three separate preparations that evolution combined into one delicious package. Sacrilege, I know, but the tradition of a caramelized bird filled to bursting with stuffing is the very reason turkey usually sucks. If tradition dictates that our most cherished meals must feature either overcooked breast or undercooked legs and thighs, in addition to the risk of food-borne illness from stuffing, then it's time to abandon tradition.

After much experimentation, my new and (dare I say it?) best approach is to divide and conquer. So, break down that turkey into the following parts: two bone-in breasts; two legs and thighs; wingtips removed; one leftover carcass and those wingtips. Brine and roast the breasts in a low-temperature oven until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 150F, then remove the breasts, crank your broiler and return the breasts to the oven to brown the skin. As for the legs and thighs, they're best braised with red wine and aromatics (a riff on coq au vin with some garlic, thyme and bacon, for example) or, better yet, confited in duck fat. (Better still if you do this a day or two ahead of time – a day or two improves braised meats.) After you and your guests have enjoyed a multi-course turkey feast, take a day or two off – you totally deserve it – then take the leftover bones, and the carcass and wingtips you set aside earlier, and make an intense pot of stock.

Story continues below advertisement

Of course, this is turkey, so if these tips don't work, make you sure you have gravy, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes handy.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies